A great opportunity to celebrate books and their authors: writers who were born or died this coming week. Buy or borrow books, and read. Do not fear the Patriot Act. Books you've read are one of the only things thought police can't take away from you. As Kurt Vonnegut said: "While on the subject of burning books, I want to congratulate librarians, not famous for their physical strength, who, all over this country, have staunchly resisted anti-democratic bullies who have tried to remove certain books from their shelves, and destroyed records rather than have to reveal to thought police the names of persons who have checked out those titles. So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House, the Supreme Court, the Senate, the House of Representatives, or the media. The America I loved still exists at the front desks of our public libraries."
Born this week:
Charles Ogden, UK
"Don't mark up the Library's copy, you fool! Librarians are Unprankable. They'll track you down! They have skills!"
Gabrielle Roy, Canada
"The main engagement of the writer is towards truthfulness; therefore he must keep his mind and his judgement free."
Tenessee Williams, USA
"When so many are lonely as seem to be lonely, it would be inexcusably selfish to be lonely alone."
Patrick Süskind, Germany
"Odors have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions, or will. The persuasive power of an odor cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it."
Heinrich Mann, Germany
"A house without books is like a room without windows. No man has a right to bring up children without surrounding them with books.... Children learn to read being in the presence of books."
Shusaku Endo, Japan
"I became a Catholic against my will."
Died this week:
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Germany
"When young one is confident to be able to build palaces for mankind, but when the time comes one has one's hands full just to be able to remove their trash."
"Politics in a work of literature is like a gunshot at a symphony, it adds an element of thugness i simplicity, and yet we cannot ignore it. Although for many reasons we would prefer to remain silent about some of the subjects discussed herein, unfortunately we must talk about these nasty things."
Jules Verne, France
"Science, my lad, has been built upon many errors; but they are errors which it was good to fall into, for they led to the truth."
John Hersey, USA
"Journalism allows its readers to witness history; fiction gives its readers an opportunity to live it."
Max Eastman, USA
"The worst enemy of human hope is not brute facts, but men of brains who will not face them."
Raymond Chandler, USA
"Don't ever write anything you don't like yourself and if you do like it, don't take anyone's advice about changing it. They just don't know."
Stanisław Lem, Poland
“At midnight all people of our country make a switch, someone who yesterday was a gardener, today becomes an engineer, yesterday’s building contractor becomes a judge, sovereign becomes a teacher, and so on. What remains unchanged is the society as a whole.
In every society of the old type most citizens perform their occupational functions poorly, and still the society does not seize to go on. Someone who is a poor gardener will ruin the garden, and a poor sovereign will ruin the entire country because both have the time to cause damage, time they do not have in our type of society. Furthermore in the old type of society, apart from poor skills, there is additional negative, even destructive effect of individuals’ private wants. Jealousy, egoism, conceit, vanity, want of power, all have a negative effect on the life of the society. This negative influence does not exist in our society. In our world one cannot do things to enrich oneself, or to make longer egoistic plans, hoping to enrich oneself in the long run, because tomorrow one becomes someone else, without knowing today what it will be.”
Enoch Arnold Bennett, UK
"A cause may be inconvenient, but it's magnificent. It's like champagne or high heels, and one must be prepared to suffer for it."